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Quality. Legends. Sloppy. Erectile dysfunction. Celibate. Forgettable. Yup, everything that 10/10 from the NME led you to believe. They had way more feel, more heat, when they started out I reck. (Sidetrack - AM are yet another shouldabeenonehitwonders of the 00s - sometimes I think we'd have lost nothing if albums had been banned for that whole decade and bands' first singles were all we had). Now losing whatever they had in floppy pendulous shapeless pomposity, that Vegas air slowing them to a plod as dull as QOTSA's "Make It Wichu'. This sounds like Chris Moyles' idea of 'experimental', like the Stereophonics zany new 'disco direction', like bleedin' Hard-Fi fer chrissakes. Epic. Boosted as somehow AM at their 'blackest', their 'danciest' (uggh) just cos they coo octave-split vocals on the chorus and the click track's been bonged-slower a few notches. You'd have to have been found swaddled in a wicker basket in a forest clearing and bought up and reared by wankers to ever consider this anything other than time-marking bollocks of the most tedious kind. Legends. A guaranteed in-at-12 out the next week non-hit doubtless already embedded into the editing suites (smartly, Alex sings "to the relegation zone" early on, he no dummy) at Talksport and the Sky F1 channel for judicious cutting and disseminating through the ever-lucrative medium of sports-montage right now. Decent. Look away and hold yr nose. Chapman Bridge for snobs. FAKE sound of Vegas. Quality. 

SWEETNESS on the mix from Reel Drama, obviously touched by the influence of Premo but cut with a speedy grace that's pure post-Kanye and with sudden moments of brooding doom amidst the luscious Rhodes & jazz-funk. A track that's not happy just staying in one place, that hits all kinds of different pleasure buttons across its breathless, gorgeous two hundred odd seconds. You owe yourself this deliciousness.


UNPOPULAR. A poxy 37million hits (vs 93mill for Gaga's latest, 161mill for Perry's) but I love this. I love the way it's been rushed out at Britney's behest and Will.I.Am is hopping mad (cos it's unrepresentative of the album). May more stars be this smart, this freewheeling. I love the way it doesn't even pretend to have a verse or a chorus, and is pretty much just a steady build and blast of jacked-up electro over which Britney marshalls the aggravation masterfully, slipping between accents (her British accent is ACES) and varying degrees of listener-baiting with the steely grace of a  her octave-jumping peal the only concession to melody, the rest like some freaky Lambourghini-speed mash-up of The Ones' 'Flawless' and Wildchild's 'Renegade Master'. Exquisitely unmusical trouble-making on the one hand. On the other, a record that's offers a disturbing, triumphant, body-rockingly thrilling snapshot of how tough you have to be to live through this. Actually good enough to make me want to hear it, too loud (the whole thing is gloriously too loud) in a club with other human beings. Better than the entire recorded works of Bob Dylan and no mistake. True sound of Vegas.  

TOO many outlets in and out. Of course, I should have massive problems with everyone involved here but 'Titanium' keeps on nagging away at me as a damn good reason not to fully condemn DG (if only he could and of course, like anyone else, I LOVED 'Stay', still Rihanna's only truly salvageable moment. Happy to report though that this is absolutely vile, like Chris Martin, Bono and Thom Yorke all frantically spunked on to a biscuit and then fed the soggy detritus through Logic Pro via a midi cable. Vocals - horrible, production - ghastly, concept- foul. The video,  which seeks to somehow bat away the none-more-whiteness of the track and give it some kind of political message it really can't sustain  by randomly splicing in footage of smiling Africans whenever it can, is perhaps one of the most revolting artefacts 2013 will give us. Hell, I know I should be critically schtum cos this is all for the United Nations or something but fuck the United Nations if enabling pop as terrible as this has now swum within their remit. Only fair that we consider marching Guetta, Ekko, and the smiling Africans as well, to the edge of a volcanic crater and push them all in, just to be firm but fair. A luncheon of lava will learn them not to foist poo on innocent pop fans and no mistake. 

(Leisure System)
DREXCIYA's Gerald Donald is the man behind Dopplereffekt, here returning from the nigh-on beatless bleakness of 2007's 'Calabai Yau Space' album to something approaching their electro roots again. 'Tetrahymena' is antarctic cold, your fingers fusing to it like a frostbit clutch at a metal door that won't stop shutting. Reminds me of 'The Thing' massively but the highlight here can be found on the flip  - 'Gene Silencing' is one of the sweetest most mournful Kraftwerk imaginings I've heard in a while, for once someone doubtless using the same pallette as Zer Gut Meisters Of Klinklang but refusing to merely be satisfied with sourcing the same textures and going about the collage with a real sense of melodic and emotional complexity. The deliciously dark 'Zygote' closes things out with eeriness and impact as well. Short for a techno EP but all the more concisely brainjangling for it. Oh and, I know you gentlemen have been through a lot, but when you find the time, I'd rather not spend the rest of this winter TIED TO THIS FUCKING COUCH.

THINGS were easier when bad voices, damaging, dangerously influential voices were the loudest voices, the most stentorian and bossy and show offy. It was obvious how dangerous the likes of Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey were for pop, that surfeit of notes and melisma, that mistaking of technicality and proficiency for emotion that was so analogous to other musicians, guitarists who solo too much, drummers who solo at all. 
Goulding with arch shitbag Jo Whiley
   What's so horrible at the moment is that the most dangerously influential voices are the weak ones, or rather the faux-weak ones, the ones that impart a horrible tincture of fake fragility to their singing, fake conversationality, a prissy, self-aggrandizing 'vulnerability' that's monstrously arrogant. Wonky-mouthed mediocrity Ellie Goulding (even that name seems to live in a floral dress, the geek amazed at the good audition) is the exemplar of this. 'Burn' would have been a fairly emetic slice of EDM-folk in anyone's hands but with her 'broken' 'breathy' 'natural' tones it attained fresh new levels of hellishness. The only time such voices have ever been tolerable to me is when they're accompanied by a similar sense of brokenness and trauma in the production of the whole record (Lois, Lisa Germano). When, as with this Pudsey-boosting pool of piss (& the equally venal Passenger) they're backed by state-of-the-art 96-track pomposity (again masquerading as finesse) the package is a hateful, ghastly one, a song wherein you can almost hear the Zooey Deschanel rom-com unfolding in the background. This isn't just pop music, it's M&S pop music. Spurn it as you would spurn a rabid dog.

(Beta Recordings)
UGGGH, bleurggh, ouch, ouch, owww, ooyah, oooyafuckayabastaya, wonderful. Synths so distorted and paranoid it's like you're head's becoming enmeshed in a new molten metal exoskull, chords turning round every three times, never letting you rest, everything else so dementedly processed you can practically feel the e-numbers racing around behind your widening retinas. Kind of what I was hoping for after his fantastic couple of tracks on Renegade Hardware's 'Horsementality' EP but on the flip 'Spectral Forms' couldn't be a more different kettle of fish - aquatic, slippery, bubbling to the edges, liquid in only the most pleasing mercurial senses, like Prince alone in the studio got possessed by the spirit of Sam Binga. Great stuff.

   They have no right to do this to me.
How dare they make me feel this bad? What rotters. What meanies. What a perfectly beastly song in every way. The kind of song you want to punch in the face, repeatedly, finding the weak point in the facial structure, and then punching that spot over and over, again and again with increasing force and fury, preferably with a heavy-gauge ball bearing in your palm, until little shards of the song's nose-bone are embedded in your knuckles. Shut UP shut UP shut UP. 
Some badly dressed turds, yesterday
Fashionably unplugged acoustic oompah bollocks musically and then, vocally, that hateful thing so much 'anthemic' music does these days - that kind of soaring simpleton holler to the heavens everyone's on a ce moment (see also Bastille, Arcade Fire - who could also be blamed for starting this shit, Lumineers, Fun, Katy Perry, even Derulo now. . . ) meant I'm sure to imply/recall/become a kind of open-throated end-of-the-night wail at the wonder at the universe, coming over as the kind of hateful studenty bellowing singalong shit you scowl at from the gap in the curtains at & can't help wishing will get scooped up by the wrong kind of cab-driver, then groomed into a lifelong nightmare of white slavery and degradation i.e reality shows and reunion tours. No right at all you future botox-addicts. How dare they make me feel so bad.

(Fake Four Inc.)
2009's 'Graymaker' was an unsung underground monsterpiece (but way more accessible and palatable than that suggests), in 2013 Seattle crew Grayskul are ready to drop a new opus 'Zenith' from which 'Come On' forms a blistering opening salvo. Razor-sharp rhymes and beats and on the flip check the Aesop Rock-produced 'Not Going Anywhere' for some truly diseased '80s electro-funk that sinks as low down and disturbing as a John Carpenter soundtrack. Superb.


(Hessle Audio)
LOVE 'Slope', turning from drone-dubstep (akin to Juana Molina with her strings in a twist) into bumping doom-house for the most fucked-up party of mutants imaginable, a party slowly getting vacated until all that's left is a ghost of a track, vocals squashed into a nigh-on extinct echo from a distant room in a distant sinking ship. On the flip , 'Maximum Busy Muscle' (is this planned?) fits its MBM acronym with some pulverising Meat Beat/KMFDM/Waxtrax-style electronic body rock. Like other Hemlock affiliate Randomer, Joe doesn't release much but when he does it's always compelling.

NOT that fussed about 'The Moment' (although typically sharp rhymes from Flowdan) but definitely fussed about 'Tip The Scales' cos that man Marcus Intalex is in on the mix and this rolls and punches and snaps your shoulders as good as Hazard's 'Time Tripping' but with all trippiness wafted away by DRS' menacing vocals: ""I'm not paranoid/I'm just conscious of the consequences/How the most miniscule distractions/ can easily tip the scales/or blow the senses . . ." Amen brother.


(Endtyme Records) 
Beautifully hung drone on 'Components Of Circulation', a medieval church organ slowly getting overtaken by brazen flying wraiths of static and fuzz that evanesce in gradually, initially spooking your peripheries eventually swooping full upon thee as the air starts to shimmer and shake and shatter like a mystical vision, snakes biting you in the pulpit. On the flip Brum duo Ore (who together with Kazuyuki Kishino who you already know from those amazing albums with James Plotkin) pepper the low-end pull and anchor of their tubas (or are they slowed-down shenais?) with frictive flickers of birdsong and a digitised oceanwave machine that eventually engulfs you. Far too good for just the bedroom. Let it make the city phantasmogoric, your walk to work an even more terrifying dawning horror than usual.

NICE to hear a manufactured girl band not fatally tied to retreading old motifs - 'Move' has got a sweet wee dubsteppy vibe to it and sees Little Mix finally starting to imbue their music with their own style, the style that emerges from the people involved, not a style hastily followed in hope that the con and scam will hold (see The Saturdays). This sounds like them. It's not perfect, but nor are they. Starting to really dig 'em.

(Madlib Invasion)
THE title track drowns a poignant couple of string and vocal loops in an ocean of echo and dub, Freddie keeping the only semblance of flow going against the steadily engulfing sense of blissful dread. 'Harold' is even more skin-puckeringly awesome, a held moment of exquisite tension kept going for an almost-unbearable length, the beats part Outkast-party, part minimal nu-skool. As you'd imagine from these guys, absolutely vital you own this launchpad into infinity as soon as possible.

APPARENTLY, as he reveals on this autotuned crockashit MM's haters only 'make him worse'. Was thinking mebbe I should hold off but actually Meek it's not POSSIBLE to be worse than this. So go on fuckface, show me how bad you can get. There's no further down to go from 'Make Me' beyond the sound of paramecium flatulence and frankly even that would be preferable to this big bowl of fuck all. Gwan man. Hit your nadir.


BRILLIANT the way this starts with slow taps of a cymbal like it's about to launch into a collosal doom-metal riff, then explodes into vivid rubbery d'n'b life, the first drop at 1 minute palpitating your heart, the second drop at 2 and a half minutes in damn near giving you a coronary. Were I 19 again, and it's only d'n'b that makes me feel that way, this would soundtrack a walk round town variously feeling like The Man Who Fell To Earth, Robocop and Roy Batty. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to die. 

(Keysound Recordings) 
Yeah, I initially recoiled at the first syllable too but this is entertaining stuff from Brighton based Mumdance & Logos: 'In Reverse PIV' plays naughty tricks with your expectations, bass n strings lunging forward, beats and vocals all shadow moonwalking backwards as the headlights pass them in the rain. My other faves here are the wonderfully bass-heavy, old-skool hip-hop collage of 'Wut It Do', the almost Dillinja-heavy bass tectonics of 'Turrican 2' and the unsettling dystopian funk of 'Truth'. In that order. Seek out on soundcloud. You don't need me anymore. 

86 EP 
(Pilot Records) 
LONDON-based Estonian-born drum'n'bass trio Mutated Forms give us five tracks a million miles away from d'n'b, all at the bpm implied in the title. 'Swamp' is weird supra-digi trap hip-hop nagged at by truly demented synthesised scratching, the two tracks with Virus Syndicate are fantastically off-kilter bangers rhythmically touched by bhangra and death-metal and I won't even talk about the other two tracks cos I sense I'm putting you off this shit. Don't be. 


LOOKING forward to hearing 'Hotel Cabana' when it comes out cos 'La La La' has soundtracked many an in-car moment of seated dancing with the grandkids this summer. As he's proven already, Shahid Kahn has a great ear for a hook but here, gratifyingly he lets his straight-up pop-side take a breather in the boot whilst he tools around in this fantastic chrome-plated funk beast of a production, Wiz Khalifa and Ella Eyre just sounding happy to be couched in such a fabulous interior, the mix of G-funk, Premo-heaviness and scratchy synths proving rewindably addictive by the time your ride is up. No Whitetown jokes please. Kahn is gonna be making us dance in our Hondas for some time yet.

'SLING Blade' is just astonishing, plays tricks with your head, pitches it off the flyover to the underpass where it gets burrowed into by ravenous bassworms, the beats plunging into your soft brainpan with all the delicacy of a steamhammer. Such a fat as fuck rotational stomp to the face, such bass-heavy head wreckage that every single additional shard of detail (the refracted keyboards, sudden whorls of phased horn, the skittering sliced up breaks, the rumbling sound of traffic careening somewhere below your centre of gravity) takes on a spooked oddity and power. Superb stuff. 

(Objekt Recordings)
BERLINER headcase Objekt drops a new 2-track 12". Here's his own (presumably translated) take on what he's offering here "By bursts of silence that seemed woven deafening persistent and grinding Agnes' earrings, scream, hand drill, it is that it is possible to mix, they will break the hustle and bustle, to listen to all the way from the village interruption. Did the Richard Where am I? His bed was empty. Indifferent, in the field miles away pills and his grandmother danced his vision to horrowshow beat repeatedly reckless and unrestrained cruel twist, Richard has a gruesome demise of more than 20 contorting mess the limbs of his. In the rush of his early, he had forgotten to shut the door behind him." To which I can only add, SPOT ON & fuck me 'Agnes Demise' is a gloriously unhinged racket, and the moment 3 minutes in when the chest-punching beat gives way to a shitload of sublime distortion is one of the most deeply pleasurable moments techno music has given me all year. On the flip 'Fishbone' sets up a moebius lattice of pulsating ebm and then starts piling on robo-helium voices like Joe Meek's seen his new world all over again. IN THE RUSH OF HIS EARLY. 

(Elevator Lady Ltd., under exclusive license to Vertigo/Capitol, a division of Universal Music GmbH)
YES, just thought I'd be explicit about who's ponied up the dough. ANYHOO, though starting off with a pleasing wooshing kinda Stereolab groove fairly rapidly tragedy ensues from the usual quarters - Brian Molko's voice and lyrics. Dynamics in a horrible Biffy Clyro/Killers/ImaginaryDragons place as well. 'We are loud like love' eh? Is he . . . is he talking about . . . he's talking about fanny farts isn't he? Genuine question, I don't understand how love is loud. Explanations in a self-addressed envelope to the normal address please and a googly-eyed 'F.U.N.K' badge will be winging its way to you.


(Potentfunk Records)
PROBLEM Child are Illaman, Dubbledge & Dabbla, with production by Sumgii and 'Quickting' is the first thing I've heard by them. It's politically objectionable in all kinds of ways and lovably fucking nuts. Theremin, filthy bass, crisp vintage electro bits, derangement in the mix kicking off everytime the helium voices and queasy aggravation bleeds in on the chorus. Absolute fuckin' sickness and by several country miles the most compelling slab of madness I've heard all week. Album drops soon. Get ready for the end times.


(Pro & AKHB/Ill Adrenaline Records)
'KILLING Time' featuring A.G is the highlight here, great scratches and production from Pro P & DJ Akilles, A.G bringing total authority and command to his verses. Also check out 'Lamp Posts & Neon Lights' for some reflective, sharp rhyming from Blu and a backdrop that seems to breathe and exude the rain-swept mystery of the city night. Old skool perhaps but with ever-new poetic things to say. For fans of the popular music genre known as rap, or hip-hop. 

MIKE Will produces this like a man possessed by a lunatic urge to drive all high-frequencies out of existence with the thickest ugliest bass sound he can find. Don't ask questions, just enjoy.

(Testcard Recordings)
UPDATE MY ECOFASHIONBLOG BUT JEEBUS Hyperion Christ - excuse me, is this a joke? I mean, I know Edith 'Fully, Some Might Say Exhaustively Exploring the Lucrative Role Of Ignoramus As Career Option For Over A Decade Now' Bowman digs 'em but . . . is this a joke? Public Service Broadcasting, as their Target Audience Profile indicates, create music best suited for the triumphal & emotional closing sequence of 'D.I.Y. SOS With Nick Knowles', a spod-u-like tour around a barrage of modern studio equipment all done with thorough and charmless competence and an almost inhuman disinterest, whilst cut-ins of John Grierson reading Auden's 'Night Mail' swim in and out of the mix for a totally unfathomable purpose. Some of my nearest & dearest love PSB but, them excused (they're bigger than me, that's why I hang out with them), only the cloth headed could consider this 'interesting' let alone grant PSB's avowed purpose of 'teaching the lessons of the past through the music of the future' any credulity. This is 'music of the future' in the same way that Paul Hardcastle's '19' 'literally ended the Vietnam war'. Shitehawks to be sure. None of them should receive a heroes welcome. None of them, n-n-n-none of them. 


(Mass Appeal Entertainment)
Lovely, bass heavy, slo-mo psychedelic soul from Rahiem, somewhere triangulated tween D'Angelo, Prince & Outkast. The voice that's been 16-rpm'd to a crawl and the skanking organ, the surprising gloriously open-ended chord changes and the stuck-in-a-mud groove make 'Make Em' into a slab of darkness akin to New Kingdom trying to break into the panty-peeling quiet-storm market. Superb lo-end romance to be played end to end with the Butthole surfers. Me very much like.

THE bleating cowardice of the regretful Redcoat, the remorseful clown. Robbie wants to slip into the calm places inbetween our entirely justified loathing of him, here reduces his voice to as anodyne and smooth a place as Roger Whittaker (he even fkn whistles!), his lyrics shorn of the usual dumpkopf pith and punnery and buzzword sloganeering, the arrangement committed to safely couching him amidst the Matt Monros and Frankie Vaughans of all our easy-listening yesterdays. Unfortunately, even listening to the pure audio without any imagery you can't shake that fucking Chris Evans smirk from your vision, that simpering neediness that is not just his default facial setting but also the bedrock of his soul. You've got all the money. Now fuck off and spend it, and don't come back until you're willing to fall apart more publically, more disastrously, more shamefully than you ever have before. Bald, naked, pissing-and-shitting-yourself on X-factor style shame please. It is, right now, pretty much all you're ever going to be good for. 


RUN the Jewels are Killer Mike and EL-P and you can imagine what a freaked-out slab of frabjous fuckery this is: 'Get It' impacts the head with a bleak harshness to the synthetic textures balanced beautifully by the sheer chunky joy of the 808 beats and looming vistas of smeared bass that drag everything to a primitive-futurist nadir devoutly to be wished. The album also features Prince Paul and Big Boi and should be one of the highlights/blowbacks of the whole winter. Absolutely essential.


(King Underground)
"I'M lightyears ahead of your thoughts kid" — Sahdeeq's skills you should be familiar with from his work with Polyrhythm Addicts, Lewis Parker's production smarts you should know from . . . what the hell you still doing here? The sumptuous, smoky, addictive 'Seasons Change' is taken from the forthcoming SS album 'Keepers of the Lost Art', on the flip of this check out 'Relax' for a truly lunatic few verses and then keep 'em peeled for the LP in the New Year.

(Eat Good Records)
THE first single from the Sonnyjim & Kosyne debut EP 'It's About Time', highlarious rhyming, astonishing headnodic production from Kelakovsk. The EP also features production from Apatight & Dag Nabit, and is totally free to download from Sonny or Ko's Bandcamp pages now. One of these days someone's gonna come up to Birmingham and make these people the international superstars they deserve to be. Until then, find, download, share the shit out of this brilliance.

(Big Machine)
I'M guessing you can imagine just how abhorrent this is, even worse than that Ed Sh**ran collaboration. Happen to think Taylor Swift has a good (and tougher/more touching than you might think) voice but a voice that reached its zenith with the held-hard distorted note in the chorus of 'Trouble' and has done nothing as good since. Gary Lightbody on the other hand has a totally revolting voice, and a totally revolting 'way with a tune' as well, and they come together in truly dreadful ways on 'The Last Time' together with that arch-architect of adult-pop horror Jacknife Lee (U2, Snow Patrol). I think the placement of this track on 'Red' is meant to signify that Swift is now ready to 'step up' to a 'more mature' sound. Though hopeful that local commercial radio won't playlist such a dull new direction, (and knowing that Radio 'Former Paedophiles Sanctuary' 1 almost certainly will) I can only beg, please Lord, let me not have to listen to any of it. 

EXTREMELY reminiscent for me of Bridges, the band the Enemy could gave been before they got their music airbrushed and their egos sphincter-locked on to airhoses. Would probably enjoy them live if stumbled across, pissed. See absolutely no reason on earth to listen to their music through choice, sober. Neither heavy enough to be enjoyable nor nuanced enough to do anything but make you yearn for Bo's magic and heat, The Strypes should still be safe, armed as they are with plenty of jaded pre-emptive apologists, ready with arguments about how 'energy' and 'fun' is all that matters, conning themselves that they're not essentially engaged in the same kind of vintage 'thrills'/sloppy seconds as yer Michael Buble or Jamie Cullum fans. Hope the shtick holds for 'em, and if it doesn't, someone throw a cordon around them before Warners come knocking with silly money, shit sportswear and a load of cack 'anthems' about the mean streets of Cavan. They're only bairns. Leave 'em be you preverts (sic) & monsters. 

(Brick Records)
MOST emphatically not for the club. For that guy down your street that you see through his window hitting a punchbag into the wee smalls. Survivalist, scary shit. Me like.

(Soul Temple Entertainment) 
FANTASTICALLY dank, squalid production from Frank Dukes, norralot to it but what there is accumulates a head of black steam beautifully, occassionally giving way to strange funkless moments of static arrhythmia, typically engrossing verbals from RZA, U-God, Rae & Deck. Fingers crossed, necks snapped that this is just an offcut from a new album soon-come. See you in the bleak midwinter. 


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